Helping you find government information and services

Extended audio description version – Apology to Australia's Indigenous peoples

Indigenous Viewer Advice

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are advised that the following program may contain images and voices of people who have passed away.

Title Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, MP – Apology to Australia's Indigenous peoples
Duration 5 minutes, 13 seconds
Recorded Wednesday, February 13, 2008, 9:09am AEDT
Location Parliament of Australia, House of Representatives
Author Parliament of Australia - Department of Parliamentary Services


Apology Transcript

The Speaker of the House (Hon Harry Jenkins MP): The Clerk.

The Clerk: Government business notice number 1, Motion offering an apology to Australia's Indigenous peoples.

The Speaker: Prime Minister.

Prime Minister (Hon Kevin Rudd MP): Mr Speaker, I move:

That today we honour the Indigenous peoples of this land, the oldest continuing cultures in human history.

We reflect on their past mistreatment.

We reflect in particular on the mistreatment of those who were Stolen Generations - this blemished chapter in our nation's history.

The time has now come for the nation to turn a new page in Australia's history by righting the wrongs of the past and so moving forward with confidence to the future.

We apologise for the laws and policies of successive Parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians.

We apologise especially for the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, their communities and their country.

For the pain, suffering and hurt of these Stolen Generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry.

To the mothers and the fathers, the brothers and the sisters, for the breaking up of families and communities, we say sorry.

And for the indignity and degradation thus inflicted on a proud people and a proud culture, we say sorry.

We the Parliament of Australia respectfully request that this apology be received in the spirit in which it is offered as part of the healing of the nation.

For the future we take heart; resolving that this new page in the history of our great continent can now be written.

We today take this first step by acknowledging the past and laying claim to a future that embraces all Australians.

A future where this Parliament resolves that the injustices of the past must never, never happen again.

A future where we harness the determination of all Australians, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, to close the gap that lies between us in life expectancy, educational achievement and economic opportunity.

A future where we embrace the possibility of new solutions to enduring problems where old approaches have failed.

A future based on mutual respect, mutual resolve and mutual responsibility.

A future where all Australians, whatever their origins, are truly equal partners, with equal opportunities and with an equal stake in shaping the next chapter in the history of this great country, Australia.

Alternative Formats

You may request a copy of these videos in an alternative format by contacting the Parliament of Australia Broadcasting Service.

Copyright Notice

Commonwealth of Australia

Access to the televised proceedings of the House of Representatives or the Senate is subject to an undertaking to observe, and comply with the following conditions:

  • Televising shall be used only for the purposes of fair and accurate reports of proceedings, and shall not be used for:
    • political party advertising or election campaigns;
    • satire or ridicule;
    • commercial sponsorship or commercial advertising.
  • Reports of proceedings shall be such as to provide a balanced presentation of differing views.
  • Excerpts of proceedings are to be placed in context.